Iced Coffee at Home: Your Best Secrets

What is the best way to make iced coffee?

Why is it that when we make iced coffee at home, it's just not as good as the coffee our favorite barista brews up? Research shows that it comes down to some simple yet varied issues, from freshly-ground beans to fresh, filtered water. Those of us who just brew coffee and let it get cold may get scoffed at; a good iced coffee is usually much stronger than that, which also accounts for the difference in taste.

Then there are the iced coffee makers, syrups/concentrates, ready-to-use iced coffee, K-cup pods where you "just add ice," and so many other tools, types of coffee and other considerations that it can make your head spin! Sometimes instant coffee is great for iced coffee; sometimes it's so bad that you don't know why you ever gave into that idea. While I'd love to find a good, cheap instant coffee, I have had success with chaga mushroom coffee (don't worry, it doesn't taste like mushrooms at all!). In college I used to use Nescafe syrup in water, milk or a milk alternative, but I can't seem to find it in the states anymore. 

What about you? What are your best tips for a decent iced coffee from home? Do you swear by a brand, method or specific product? Share your secrets in the chat.

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Skinny Mixes Extend Valentine's Day Sale

Save 25% on select syrups!

Skinny Syrups provide people with an easy way to be their own at-home barista or bartender, so it's always exciting when the company offers a sale here and there. Right now Skinny Syrups is extending their Valentine's Day sale so folks can get 25% off select syrups. Since it's Valentine's themed, of course the syrups are all chocolate-based!

Using the code LOVEYOURSELF, you can get these mixes for 25% off the usual $6.99 price. The new price of $5.24 is a great deal, and I really recommend ordering with a friend so you can combine and get FREE shipping if you spend $59 or more. There are also some online-only flavors, so if you usually buy yours at Bed, Bath and Beyond or a similar local store, you might want to try something like Salted Dark Chocolate Espresso, one of my favorites!

As far as using these sugar-free syrups, the sky really is the limit. Get some fruity flavors for your favorite cosmo recipe, mix the chocolate ones in coffee or an ice cream cocktail... You can even just add to water if you want to try and stay hydrated better.

Which syrups do you like best, and what do you make with them? Share your tips and hauls in the chat.

Republic of Tea Offers Free Shipping

Now through February 13

Ordering tea for a fancy Valentine's high tea, or just need to re-stock your favorites? Now is the time to do it with Republic of Tea, as the company has announced that all shoppers can get free shipping by spending $30 or more now through February 13 at 11:59PM.

It's a great deal to get all of the teas you've been meaning to buy, especially if you're like me and you have a list! I've been meaning to pick up lots of wellness teas, from their Get Lost and Elderberry to Turmeric Ginger and Dandelion Superherb. There are lots of tasty blends to try as well.

From Blackberry Sage to the Star Wars Mandalorian blend, there are so many flavors I've yet to even try. This offer is only valid on domestic orders and is not valid with other offers or discounts. Some items, like glass bottles and concentrates, are not included in the sale.

Do you know of any other great tea sales going on now? What kinds of tea are you buying, and what kinds are on your own wish list? Share them in the chat.

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Cocktails & Screams

Have you heard of this themed bar?

So many people are embracing their love of Halloween--often year-round!--and may appreciate this Halloween-themed bar that offers spooky fun throughout the whole year. Cocktails and Screams has scary decor as well as themed snacks, drinks and all the fun you could love at a place that is as creepy as it sounds.

Drinks are named after all of your favorite Halloween-themed movies and shows, from Hocus Pocus to Frog's Breath. The Orlando haunt is famous for bar bites like little tiny donuts as well as its creative cocktails, draft beer and spoky good time!

Have you ever been to Cocktails and Screams or any other Halloween-themed bar or restaurant? What was it like? Share your favorite experiences in the chat. 

Instant Coffee for One

How do you prepare yours?

Instant coffee has never worked out for me. I'd love to just whip up a glass and have iced coffee on hand all the time without having to brew anything, but every time I try an instant coffee it tastes horrible! Many people swear by instant granules, though, so there must be some way to make it a delicious latte. But how? 

The secret, I suspect, is in the type of coffee. I just need to find the right brand and flavor that I like, which will require some sampling and testing. I'd love to know which flavors work for folks. Next, I've read that there are loads of tips to try, from adding things like cocoa, butter and cinnamon, to blending it with ice. 

What tips do you have to make a great iced coffee using instant granules? What kinds of granules do you like best and which would you steer clear from? Share your tips in the chat. 

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New Drinks to Try in 2022

What's on your to-try list?

Each year there seem to be more drinks than ever saturating the market, and 2022 is no exception. This year there are so many flavorful drinks coming out that it's easy to find a few that you might want to sample. Petal is at the top of my list. This low-sugar, caffeine-free sparkling drink comes in a bunch of delicious-sounding flavors, like Peach Marigold Basil and Lemongrass Dandelion Strawberry.

Next is Abita's Purple Haze. As a huge fan of Abita's root beer, I think this "fruit beer" made with raspberries sounds really yummy. Then there are the Beatbox wines, like Pink Lemonade and Blue Raspberry, which will be perfect for summertime. The ginger citrus of Kin Spritz drinks also makes them sound pretty tempting.

What drinks are you hoping to sample in 2022? Share the flavors and brands that you are hoping to try sometime this year in the chat. 

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Happy National Hot Tea Day!

How are you celebrating?

National Hot Tea Day is here, and it's time to celebrate the lovely warming drink that inspires conversations, helps us enjoy hygge and generally creates a cozy sensation in the body. Hot tea is my way of winding down after a long day and there are so many ways to celebrate! Here are just a few ideas.

Brew up your favorite tea and enjoy it! For a twist, try adding in a dash of flavor syrup, making it a latte, sprinkling in an herb for some kick--maybe cinnamon, ginger or even some cayenne? 

Try a totally new-to-you tea. Did you know there are dessert teas, like blueberry muffin, cotton candy and even chocolate? These make it easy to enjoy great flavors without going without, especially if you are trying to avoid candy. On the other hand, you can also sweeten them up and even add chocolate or caramel syrup, whipped cream and candies to make them even more special!

Try a Thai tea, bubble tea or nutritional tea. These shops are popping up everywhere!

Drive through your favorite coffee shop and try a tea instead for a change. Try a baked good with it if you like.

Enjoy a meal of high tea at home with some cucumber sandwiches, a pot of tea and some yummy desserts. Make it fancy with tiers, scones and lemon curd, or just have some PB&J and tea with the kids. Kids often enjoy hibiscus tea, which has a bit of a kool-aid-like flavor.

How are you celebrating National Hot Tea Day? Share your ideas in the chat! 

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The Best Sparkling Water Flavors

Share your favorites in the chat!

Are you a sparkling water lover? Sparkling water definitely counts toward your daily water intake, which is why I appreciate it so much. Many people don't enjoy the flavor without the sugar of soda but I love a good sparkling water. The key is to find the best flavor and lasting bubbles.

LaCroix is a favorite, and I love how long it stays fizzy against other brands. My favorite flavor is Limoncello, which is a combination of vanilla and lemon. It's a chef's kiss flavor that I think outshines all of their others. Plenty of other brands, like Target's, have more fun flavors, but they just don't last as long for me. Target's Pomegranate Dragonfruit is my favorite current flavor, but I really wish it held its bubbles longer.

What types of sparkling water have you tried, and which do you like best? Do you have any hacks for keeping the fizzy goodness fizzy longer? Share what works best for you in the chat.

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LOTR Cocktail Ideas

Do you have a recipe for MIRUVOR?

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring just turned 20 years old, but that's not the only reason to celebrate the trilogy. In my family, we watch a marathon of the films every New Year's Day, so it's a great time to whip up some themed snacks and drinks. Who's hungry for Lembas bread?

LOTR-inspired drinks are aplenty, and there are so many recipes for miruvor, the cordial of Imladris, around the web. This recipe for miruvor contains mead, honey, citrus peels, rosebuds and cinnamon stick, and sounds perfect. Given that it's meant to be a sort of nectar that's meant to be sipped, this miruvor recipe with elderberry syrup, vanilla bean, honey and vodka also sounds fitting. Then there's this super simple recipe with jasmine flower that is served so perfectly in a tiny glass. I love the ginger beer variation!

What recipe do you use to make miruvor? Do you have any other LOTR-inspired recipes that you like to mix up for a marathon? Share your favorites in the chat.


Butterscotch Flavor Hacks

How do you pull it off?

Who doesn't love a good butterscotch flavor? Unfortunately, my favorite source for low-sugar syrups doesn't carry butterscotch. They have toffee, which is close, but it doesn't have that classic Lifesaver flavor I'm looking for in my daily coffee and mixed drinks. There are plenty of mixed drinks that come in the flavor already, but most of them aren't of the low-sugar variety, at least that I've seen.

Prymal has an actual Butterscotch Toffee creamer that's quite low on carbs and sugar, and I'm thinking of trying that, but I am on the hunt for a mix-in that's already liquid for general use. It looks like Davinci, Amoretti and LorAnn all have actual butterscotch flavor, so I may give them a shot.

Fellow butterscotch lovers, whose butterscotch flavors do you like best? Are there any that I'm missing, or any ready-made drinks with low-sugar flavor? Share your favorites in the chat. 

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